First 90 Days As a Sales Manager.

You just went through the painful process of interviewing for a new sales manager position and have finally scored a great position. Throughout the process you made promises and presented your capabilities persuasively. Now you’re sitting at your new desk and you realize it’s time to put your money where your mouth was. Oh crap!

 


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Here is what I found that kept me out of hot water and successful for the first 90 days.

Outside the sales team.

You need to focus on the right first impression. This is more than impressing your newly acquired sales team. This is getting to know key people in operations, accounting, support, IT, and so on. They can become instrumental to your early successes as a manager. Salespeople have employee issues like any other. If you can help them quickly with implementation, payroll, customer support and laptop issues you quickly become the hero.

Do you understand the new corporate culture? Really? While none of us want to deal with company politics they are always there. This is critical information useful to navigate and partner correctly.

Get to know everyone, by name, and what they do. Or at least those that you will interface with regularly. Don’t sit at your desk waiting for them to come to you.

“Management is nothing more than motivating other people.” Lee Iacocca

Find the answers but be measured with advice. Spread your questions out to multiple sources. Be careful about your advice and opinions offered. As the new guy or gal you are not credible. Yet.

Get that one win idea, hire, or sale and build on it.

The sales team.

Get to know what hand you were dealt immediately. Find out what they know and what their goals are within the company and in life. What did they like with the last boss and what they didn’t. Find out if any of them thought they should have had your job. They need to believe that anything they tell you is in confidence and never give them a reason to doubt that. They need to believe you are their partner for success immediately and in the future.

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Give them support and give them credit. Do not take their spotlight away. If you have the right relationship with them they will give you the kudos desired for this new position.

Become the go to guy/gal, quickly. With that said, offer to learn and share with your new team as you ramp up.

You need to have a clear understanding of what it takes for your team to be successful. What metrics are needed. If no one knows then start with industry standards. If you don’t know what this is then how can you expect your sales team to.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin

Set the right tone. While you are “there for them” they need to be there for you. Ultimately they need to understand that you have a job to perform and you need to do it yesterday. Be crystal clear on your expectations and like my ex-boss loved to say, “you need to inspect what you expect”. Hold them accountable through one-on-ones and sales playbooks or plans.

Your boss.

Demand that they meet with you regularly. I know this sounds crazy but many times it does not happen especially when you are answering to an upper manager like the president and any c-suite. They are busy folks, I get that, but especially for the first 90 days… you need to make sure they understand what you are doing from your lips. I can’t stress this enough. They might be getting skewed information from some of your peers, co-workers and sales team. Set the record straight and get valuable direction information regularly.

I have hit on only a few key items to help with that infamous 90 days. If you start the process correctly you will blow through the first 90 days and achieve the long-term relationship and career desired.

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Chris Lott is a business solutions consultant with over 10 year’s sales management experience including business ownership, product management and marketing. He also owns and contributes to SalesBlog! and totallysales.

 

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